Snaps + Rye, a new Danish café on Golborne Road, is an effortlessly cool place. Typically Scandi in design (light and airy, clean lines, soft brown décor and a splash of red in the form of industrial shelves and bar stools), it’s the realised dream of local couple Kell and Jacqueline Skött, who also run a hairdressers round the corner.
Diners choose from an a la carte menu that’s peppered with various wonderful combinations of fish, egg, rye bread, pickled things, berries and potato – so if you like all of the above, you’ll have a great time. The food is partly inspired by Cornish head chef Tania Steytler’s seaside upbringing, although there are also snippets that hark back to Kell’s childhood in Denmark – a surprisingly rich mushroom, nut and cream pâté, for example, that’s been a secret family recipe for decades.
Try flash fried smoked eel with warm potato salad, crisped ham and watercress; and smoked sardine with egg yolk, pickled beetroot, caper berries and radish (‘sun over Golborne’). Or choose from a wide selection of smørrebrød (open face sandwiches), all made with homemade organic rye bread – boozy Akvavit-cured Var salmon is one of our favourites.
But to experience Snaps + Rye at its very best, go on a Friday evening (the only day they’re open past 6pm) for Fiskefredag – fish Friday. Steytler creates a new four-course menu every week that’s totally dictated by what’s available, and as such the dishes are only announced the day before, on Snaps + Rye’s twitter feed. On a recent visit we had a punchy, vinegary bowl of cubed short-cure salmon and wild seabass with pickles and young herbs; a warm salad of cod, asparagus and lettuce with intense chicken dressing; a hearty shellfish and pearl barley risotto; and, to finish, silky buttermilk panna cotta with delicate pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) and pickled strawberries – all for £35. With food like this, it’s no wonder Denmark is the happiest nation in the world.
To drink, try a bottle of flavoured birch sap (destined to be the latest health food craze) or, for something a little more Viking, a rye snaps espresso cocktail made from house-infused rye Akvavit, Kahlúa, espresso and ice. Do as the Danes do and finish your meal with a strong coffee and a few pellets of exquisite Danish ‘Lakrids’ liquorice – please don’t leave without trying the dulce de leche flavour.
Bullseye: house-cured herring and horseradish on rye, available from the counter (£3.70) or as a starter with potato salad (£5.50). An absolute classic, beautifully done.